Their virgin mistress, p.10
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       Their Virgin Mistress, p.10
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         Part #7 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black

  grunted and stumbled back, releasing her.

  Tori heard the knife clatter to the floor, then turned to see the big attacker whirled around—and Oliver manhandling him.

  Relief poured through her. She couldn’t quite breathe. Oliver was here. He’d pulled her attacker away. She probably shouldn’t be relieved that a CEO had come to take on a street thug, but she wasn’t alone anymore. He was risking himself for her. They would defeat him together.

  As Oliver punched up with an uppercut, she grabbed the closest thing she could, a solid-looking lamp next to a table beside the lifts. She picked it up and swung it around, plowing the base into the attacker’s skull as Oliver kicked the thug in the balls.

  The CEO didn’t fight fair, it seemed.

  Her assailant doubled over with a grunt, clutching his balls.

  “What the hell do you want?” Oliver growled.

  The other man didn’t answer for a long moment, just groaned like a wounded animal. As Tori wondered how badly they’d hurt him, he jumped to his feet, shouldering Oliver aside. He stumbled toward the door, grabbing his knife from the tile, then burst out onto the street. With a curse, Oliver started after him.

  “Wait.” Tori grabbed his sleeve.

  He spun around to her. Blood trickled from his lip, onto his shirt. Breathing heavily, he swiped his thumb over the drop at the corner of his mouth and glanced down at the crimson smeared over his skin.

  The savage look he wore made her take a step back. “Oliver?”

  He sucked in a breath and seemed to force himself off the ledge. “You made me lose him. He’s gone.”

  “What were you thinking, chasing after him? He could have killed you.” Her pounding heart pumped adrenaline through her system.

  Oliver pulled out his cell. “Or I could have killed him. Have you thought of that? What did he want?”

  She touched her throat.

  Oliver rolled his deep blue eyes. “Of course. You thought it was a good idea to traipse around London after dark, wearing a fortune in jewels. You got what you deserved for that foolishness.”

  Anger flared. He’d been determined to make her miserable all night. “Yes, well, he also wanted to rape me. I’m sure I deserved that, too.”

  Oliver clenched his jaw. “You should have let me kill the bastard. All I can do now is ring the police.”

  And then her well-meaning brothers-in-law would probably smother her with guards and take away her freedom. “No. Please, don’t. We don’t have a description of him. We don’t have anything to go on. It would be a huge waste of time.”

  “And the sheikh would find out if you filed a police report detailing the attack.”

  Well, she’d never accused him of being dumb. “If he finds out something like this happened, I will likely find myself in the custody of the royal guard.”

  “Well, we can’t have that.” He pocketed the phone. “Do you mind if I clean up?”

  “Go ahead.” He could take the jewelry with him when he left and return it to Callum. Then she’d have one less thing to do before she left London.

  She crossed the lobby to the lift, which still sat open. Her hands shook as she entered, still clutching her shoes, with Oliver following behind. She pressed the button for four. Her floor. Well, not for much longer.

  “Do you have anything to drink?” Oliver asked after they’d ascended and the doors opened again.

  “I have a little bottle of Scotch.” Her neighbors had brought it over as a gift after she’d collected their mail while they were on holiday.

  “Excellent.” Oliver stopped in front of her door.

  He’d never been here. How had he known what flat she lived in? She let it go. Why question it? It didn’t really matter.

  She pulled the key out of the hidden pocket in her dress, but she was still shaking.

  Oliver wrapped his big hand around her own, warming her icy skin. “Give it to me.”

  He didn’t wait for her reply, just took the keys from her. With steady fingers, he opened the door, ushering her inside.

  The minute they were alone, he turned on her, charging into her space, and pressed his body to hers against the back of the door. “He could have killed you. He could have raped you and killed you.”

  He could have. And she would have lost something precious that should have been hers to give. A violent stranger could have taken it from her before he killed her, and she would never have known what it meant to lie with a man she cared about.

  Oliver Thurston-Hughes had been a dick to her this evening, but it didn’t wash away all the months of his kindness, his friendship. Maybe that should make her want him less, but it didn’t.

  As she stared at him, separated by only a few feet, their breaths rough, all she could think about was him and the regret she’d have if she let this moment pass and never knew what it felt like to touch this man she loved.

  When his mouth descended on hers, the adrenaline that coursed through her body morphed into a desperate arousal. She softened against him, ready to have him in any way she could.

  * * * *

  “What do you mean she’s gone?”

  Rory looked at His Highness, the Royal Sheikh of Bezakistan, and wished the night would end. “Tori wasn’t feeling well and she decided to go back to her place.”

  Talib al Mussad’s eyes narrowed as though he’d detected a lie. “Without informing her sister? That seems very unlike Tori. She is always quite thoughtful about such things. Piper raised her, you see. She wouldn’t leave without informing my wife. It’s a bit of a habit. She rarely lets a day pass without informing her sister where she is and how she’s doing.”

  “She wasn’t feeling well.” It was all Rory could think to say. It wasn’t surprising that Tori was close to her sister, even though they lived in different countries. From what he understood, they’d always been very close, especially after their parents had died.

  “As I said, Tori definitely would have sought out her sister.”

  If he didn’t deal with the sheikh, the entire al Mussad clan would leave this event and go straight to Tori’s. And Rory would be shocked if those overprotective men didn’t haul her off to the palace where he’d never see her again. “She wanted some time alone.”

  “Why? I can only imagine she would desire such a thing if she was upset.”

  It was time to start staking a claim, as the Americans would say. Callum had pushed the subject earlier. Tonight’s debacle would affect all of them, so no one could pretend that Tori was merely a colleague or a friend anymore. Rory knew he had to push through. One way or another, Tori was going to belong to the Thurston-Hughes family, and it was time the al Mussads learned that.

  “I believe she’s weighing her options. My brother is very interested in pursuing something serious with Tori. He’s quite in love with her and he expressed his feelings tonight.” He’d nearly expressed his semen as well, but the sheikh didn’t need those details.

  Talib frowned and heaved a long sigh. “I believe it is far too soon for her to consider such a request, and I would need to speak to Oliver myself.”

  “It’s not Oliver. Rather, it’s Callum.”

  That had Talib’s right eyebrow rising in aristocratic query. “I’m not a fool, Mr. Thurston-Hughes. Oliver is interested in Tori.”

  How to explain it? It was harder given the man’s lifestyle. Rory shrugged. “Perhaps, but Callum has chosen to press his claim.”

  At least he didn’t have to worry about Talib being offended by the use of that word. The man seemed to take a very old-fashioned approach to the women in his life.

  “And what of your claim?”

  “I don’t have one.”

  The sheikh sent him a knowing stare. “But you want her.”

  Rory tried to shrug it off. “She’s a beautiful woman. You should know that I intend to treat her with every kindness and courtesy, as I would my own sister.”

  “I sincerely doubt you spend your nights dreaming of sex with you
r own sister.”

  “Of course not!”

  “That is why the arrangement you speak of will not work and I will not give my blessing.” He smoothed down his jacket, his decision seemingly made. “I thank you for your kindness to my sister, but I’m afraid I’ll be taking her home with me tomorrow morning. I’ll send someone from the palace to pack her things. Whatever penalty she incurs for leaving her job before the end of her contract, send the bill my direction. That will be all.”

  “Excuse me?” Rory might not be royalty, but he wasn’t used to being dismissed.

  The sheikh stared at him for a moment. “We’re done here, so you may leave.”

  “I’m not going anywhere and, unless Tori consents, neither is she. This is the twenty-first century, and if you think for a second I’ll do your bidding because some random bit of DNA landed you a sovereign role, you should think again. I won’t let Tori go without a fight and you should know I don’t always fight clean.”

  A little smile curled up the sheikh’s mouth, and Rory wondered if he hadn’t fallen into a well-placed trap. “Now I see a man I can talk to. I do not understand the stiff politeness of you British. When it comes to our women, a man should be a bit savage.”

  Rory certainly felt that way now, despite the fact that she wasn’t his. “Tori will make her own decision.”

  “Tori is too shy and naïve to ask for what she wants. Until she learns, I will look after her. You and your brothers will either get on the same page or you will let her go.”

  “I am working on that.” Callum’s hotheaded moments aside, Rory had believed they were on the same page. “The plan has been to back Oliver’s play. I’m afraid he waited too long, and now Callum won’t step back.”

  “The fact that you call it a play urges me to remove Tori now. We aren’t discussing a game or a pawn. This is her life. For the record, I wasn’t talking about the three of you deciding which brother should have the woman you all love. The three of you should stop being selfish children and figure out how you will share her or stay away. If you and your brothers do not, you will leave her forever torn, and I won’t have it. She has feelings for you all. Perhaps you are willing to martyr yourself for your so-called brotherhood, but think about her. By forcing her to choose, you ask her to give up pieces of her heart. You are right, Rory Thurston-Hughes, you have no claim. When you grow up and learn to put her first, you may call me. Until then, leave my sister alone.”

  “Do you think it’s that easy?” He was getting really sick of being treated like a child. Talib couldn’t know how much he’d sacrificed for his family, how far he was willing to go. “Have you had to watch your brother slowly kill himself? Have you watched as he endured something so brutal and world-changing that you were certain he could never be the same again?”

  The sheikh paused for a long moment, and Rory thought the man would simply walk away. Finally, Talib skewered him with a dark stare. “I have not been forced to watch my brothers struggle, but I have been where Oliver is. I know my own brothers worried for my life and they prayed Piper could be the one to save me. She did, but if I had not had their support and encouragement, I would never have touched her. Your heart is in the right place, Rory. You are simply approaching Tori in the wrong way. I was a brutal man before my Piper. The violence and betrayal I lived through exposed me to a side of the world most men are never forced to see. Afterward, I was a wounded animal, much like Oliver. I was dangerous to Piper then, but my brothers were there to ensure I could not hurt her. Well, not too much. I still hang my head in shame at some of the ways I pushed our wife away. Without my brothers, I would be alone in the world. If you love Tori, you will find a way to compromise with your brothers and work together to make her whole.”

  “We don’t live in Bezakistan. Our world would never accept such a relationship.”

  Talib put a hand on his shoulder. “If you aren’t ready to be the one to define what is and what isn’t acceptable to your world, then you are not ready to love Tori. I wish you all well, but we will be collecting our sister. I require some time with my queen now.”

  He watched as the sheikh crossed the ballroom floor to stand with his brothers and their beautiful wife. They all welcomed him with open arms. Rafe moved to one side, ceding his place by Piper as though he understood his brother’s need. Talib kissed his wife, their hands tangling together. She squeezed his hand, and though Rory could see him shaking his head as if to say he was fine, Piper’s little frown said that she didn’t believe him. She leaned in, as though she could give him her strength.

  What would having that sort of love feel like, with a woman who knew him well enough to see through well-meaning lies? And what would it feel like to know that no matter what happened to him, his wife would always have his brothers to lean on, to share her life with?

  Talib al Mussad was a lucky man and not simply because of his birth.

  “That is one lucky woman.” Claire threaded her arm through his as Callum headed toward the stage, notes in one hand, his public smile firmly in place.

  “Funny. I was thinking the sheikh was a lucky man.” He glanced at his sister. She was always so reasonable, so intellectual. “You don’t think it would be hard to live in a way the rest of the world thinks is wrong?”

  “Who cares what the world thinks, Rory? The world doesn’t hold you at night. The world doesn’t take care of you. So no, if I had the chance, I wouldn’t give a damn what the world thought. I would choose love.” She nodded to the stage. “Good. After Callum’s speech, we can start closing this thing down. I’m rather tired after all the dancing. Say, have you seen Oliver?”

  Yes. He’d seen Oliver stalking after Tori like a lion about to tear apart a luscious little antelope. “No,” he lied. “I’m certain he’s around here somewhere.”

  He had to hope Oliver wasn’t ruining the future for all of them.

  * * * *

  Oliver pressed Tori against the door, his cock shooting to life. Months—years, really—it seemed as if the damn thing had been completely apathetic. Oh, it functioned for the most part, but only in an obligatory capacity.

  Now, fire rained down and passion pelted him. His cock pulsed with life, strictly because of her.

  He covered her body with his, pressing his chest against the softness of her breasts, dying to be inside her. He wanted tonight to last because it was all he would ever allow himself to have of her.

  “I’m not going to play the gentleman like my brother.”

  “I don’t want you to.” The last thing she wanted now was gentle.

  “Good, because I’m going to get inside you and I’m going to stay there for a good, long while.” He would take her again and again. When he was fully sated, maybe this terrible longing to be near her would dissipate and he could get back to his real life.

  And she would move on with hers. Away from him because after tonight, Callum would have to see the sort of woman she really was.

  But he didn’t care now. All he could think about was how soft she felt and how fucking sweet she seemed. He didn’t care if all that was an illusion he no longer believed. Right now, all that mattered was sinking into her for a few hours and forgetting anything else existed.

  “Take it off. Now.”

  “My dress?” Her breath caught. “I can’t reach the zipper.”

  “I meant the ring. I’m not making love to you with that bloody thing on your finger.”

  “I’m sorry.” She gripped it with her right thumb and forefinger and tossed it away as if it meant nothing. He heard it ping on the hardwood floor as it rolled away. “I shouldn’t have even tried it. I was very foolish. It’s nothing, Oliver. It was a stupid idea.”

  Yes, marriage was a very stupid idea, especially with her. She was dangerous to his peace of mind, and he wouldn’t marry again. His brothers and sister could do all the heir making for the family. He was through with silly notions of faithful love.

  He pressed his hand up her body and cupped her pert b
reast. Even through the material of her gown, he could sense how soft that skin was going to be. Touching her was what mattered. Sex with her right now mattered. He could scratch his itch, then send her back to the idiot who planned to marry her. And if she thought she’d traded up… Well, he would make sure she understood the way of the world come morning.

  He slammed his mouth over hers, taking possession with a slow
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